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Utility of 3D-T2 space MRI sequence in diagnosing a rare cause of lower backache: horseshoe cord and meningocoele manqué in a case of composite split cord malformation


Diastematomyelia is the asymmetric or symmetric lateral duplication of the spinal cord into two hemicords. Pang divided it into three types: type-1, type-2 and composite split cord malformation (SCM). Composite SCMs are uncommon and are defined by the coexistence of multiple types of split cord with normal cord in between. When partially bridged, they are called a horseshoe cord. We report a case of a young woman who presented with backache and was diagnosed with composite SCM with horseshoe cord and type-2 SCM with intervening normal cord. In our case, 3D-SPACE due to its superior topographical evaluation, allowed us to visualise and characterise the thin meningocoele manque bands and detect horseshoe cords, asymmetric cords and demarcate the precise extent of syrinx, which were suboptimally imaged on isolated T2 and T1WI sequences. If left untreated during surgery, bands can be the potential cause for persistent backache.

  • Radiology
  • Neuroimaging
  • Spinal cord
  • General practice / family medicine

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